According to the W3C, "The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries". The Semantic Web is therefore regarded as an integrator across different content, information applications and systems.
The term was coined by Tim Berners-Lee for a web of data (or data web) that can be processed by machines—that is, one in which much of themeaning is machine-readable. While its critics have questioned its feasibility, proponents argue that applications in library and information science, industry, biology and human sciences research have already proven the validity of the original concept.
Berners-Lee originally expressed his vision of the Semantic Web as follows:
“I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A "Semantic Web", which makes this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The "intelligent agents" people have touted for ages will finally materialize.
“The greater complex is never predicted by the parts of the lesser complex. Therefore, I surmise that to learn anything you must start with the whole—with Universe.
Comprehension of the whole alone leads to discovery of the significant intercomplementary functions to be played by the parts.”
“Synergy—behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior or integral characteristics of any parts of the system when the parts are considered only separately.”
“To be optimally effective, undertake at outset the most comprehensive task in the most comprehensiv and incisively detailed manner.”
BUCKMINSTER FULLER (1895–1983; quotations from Cosmography and Critical Path)